By Marc Lewis
We’ve got a mac in the school studio that I call UKIP. It’s the one on the far right.
I don’t want to associate myself with that flavour of ideology, but I had been struggling to decide which way I wanted to go in the referendum. My mind is now made up, and I’m happy with my decision.
The numbers being bandied around by both sides weren’t helping at all. Most of them were fabricated. Fine, I’ve never liked research all that much anyway. Never confuse numbers and facts!! I went looking for some facts.
Our school is beautifully international, and better for it in every way. One of my teams is a fantastic and talented German with a brilliant sense of humour. His partner is part-Japanese, part-French, part-dolphin. They are good enough to work in any agency, anywhere in the world, but they’ve studied here and they want to work here.
Good, because great work builds factories. That team will work for a local agency, who will have local clients.
Talented students do my job for me. They inspire the other students, and they raise the level of the room. If this is true at the micro-level of a classroom, might it also be true at the macro-level of a city or a country?
My biggest concern in this referendum has been the strain on national infrastructure caused by a fast-growing population, and that some sections of our society might be disproportionately disadvantaged by it.
I had been wanting to see some sort of immigration control, so that we can manage the numbers and the quality. I now realise that there is a better way.
Whatever happens at the referendum, our population is predicted to continue to grow. We know that we need some migration, because we are growing older and need young people to look after us. Some predict that we might become a nation of 80 million.
With the right leadership, this should be a great opportunity to transform our transport, education and health from being a relic of the Victorian era, to becoming something scalable, sustainable and suitable for a 21st Century society.
I am convinced that technology will provide answers to these challenges.
What we are seeing in Europe (and globally) with migration, is similar to what we have seen within countries worldwide for the past century. Cities have grown, populations have become more concentrated. Agricultural communities have been impacted just as urban communities have, albeit in extremely opposite ways.
One of the reasons why this is difficult (beyond the logistical challenges), is that it has the potential to uproot and destroy local communities – even family ties. Brothers and aunties move from towns or villages to start a new life. Traditions become less cemented in local culture. Neighbourhoods become more transient.
I would like a local business tax that penalised employers for hiring people on living wage from outside of the local community. The area of immigration that I don’t like is the bit where employers exploit labour by shipping-in cheap workers. Similarly, a tax on hiring outside of the local community would also provide a tax-rebate for training and hiring from within the local community. This tax would be invested in local infrastructure.
There would be no penalty for employing talent above the Living Wage, because we should want to attract talent and promote competition globally.
I am proudly, loudly British. I’m a nationalist whenever there is a football tournament, and I am a bit of a royalist. I think that Great Britain is great, and I want it to stay that way.
This country had a proud history of ending servitude, of welcoming the world, trading ideas, goods and services.
I think that we’ve lost our way a little bit, but we are fundamentally good people and we live in a democracy that will decide what’s best. I believe that there are solutions within our powers to defend against mass migration of unskilled labour, but these powers should be used with good purpose.
What makes Britain great is its diversity. If you are reading this on a bus, or in a café, look around you. We all look different, we have different cultural influences, and we are all privy to different insights. We are perfectly set-up to have great creative ideas.
We need to protect that, by making Britain feel like home to anyone who wants to make it their home. I dread to think what some Europeans must be thinking about us in this present, heated political climate. It doesn’t feel very welcoming.
Investing in infrastructure, protecting local communities, and welcoming talented migration are all possible, whether we remain or leave.
We simply need the right leaders, with the right ideas and the right conviction to see their ideas through.
That’s why I have decided to vote to remain.
The right leadership hasn’t emerged on either side, so we are better off with the status-quo. This union has brought us peace and prosperity between our neighbours across Europe for nearly a century. We have been at the centre of that, and the portal between Europe and the world.
Nobody on the Leave side of the debate has presented a credible vision of what post-EU Britain would look like. I find it impossible to second-guess what Cameron’s long-term vision is. Big Society? I’m not sure that even he knows.
But the right leaders will come along. We wouldn’t let a Trump happen here.
Until that happens, remain calm.